The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and many people are probably puzzling over what to pick up for some of the important people in their lives. Nobody wants to give gifts that will just end up in the trash or returned to the store.
A sweet, generous alternative to a randomly chosen item could be a gift with a cause. Donations or purchases made through charities, nonprofits or social enterprises on behalf of a friend, relative or significant others are meaningful gifts that go beyond the recipient and benefit others.
Here are seven gifts to give to make a difference during the holiday season.
1. Foster a baby elephant through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The is a well-known elephant and rhinoceros rescue and rehabilitation center in East Africa. They’re constantly taking in baby elephants left orphaned by poachers, loss of habitat or other human-related pressures, and, for $50, you can “adopt” a baby elephant of your choice to support its rehabilitation.
2. Buy an adorable beanie from Love Your Melon and fight pediatric cancer
is an apparel brand with a mission to give a hat to every child in America fighting cancer. Love Your Melon has given children more than 100,000 beanies and donated more than $2 million to its nonprofit partners who research pediatric cancer and provide support to families battling those illnesses. The hats are super cute, super soft and 50 percent of the profit from each product sold is donated.
3. Give a lady in your life an Alex and Ani Charity By Design bangle
always has several adorable charm bangles available that contribute to different causes through its Charity By Design program. The company is donating 20 percent of the purchase price of the particular bracelet shown to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA.
4. Indulge a coffee lover and benefit a clean water initiatives with Three Avocados coffee
, ironically, does not sell avocados. Instead, it sells high-quality coffee grown and picked by small-scale farmers who are paid a fair wage. All products sold by Three Avocados contribute to its clean water initiatives initiatives in Uganda.
5. Give your favorite music lover a guitar pick bracelet from Cords for Music
is a social enterprise that donates a portion of each sale to nonprofits that provide music classes in public schools, where music programs are quickly being cut. All of the jewelry Cords for Music sells is handmade in the U.S. so they also benefit local economies.
6. Spread some good smells with a candle made by women refugees
Skip the Bath and Body Works candles and shop at instead. Prosperity Candle is a social enterprise that supports women refugees and artisans who have recently settled in the U.S. Every candle is hand-poured by a woman driven to better her and her family’s lives.
7. Give a book lover a book “adoption” through the Smithsonian Libraries
The Smithsonian Libraries is always in need of funding to help acquire, conserve and digitize old books and manuscripts. Through its, you can choose from any number of texts to “adopt” a book to ensure it’s available to fellow book lovers for years to come.